New Delhi: Pick a squad online. Track your players’ progress. Sit back and collect points. And win a grand prize, if you were a smart selector.
Fantasy sport, where you play the virtual selector of a real game, and collect points according to the actual performance of the players, is making its mark in India.
The latest in India to tap into the fantasy sports market is Fandromeda, an independent product from Bengaluru-based TenTenTen, which conducted the official fantasy league for the last three editions of the Indian Premier league (IPL) and last year’s cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Fandromeda currently has no external funding. TenTenTen says it is in talks with potential investors, and might close a round of angel funding soon.
Since its launch two weeks ago, Fandromeda has racked up over 30,000 users, with a cash prize of over Rs.5 lakh when the World T20 tournament ends on 3 April. Entry is free.
Fandromedia currently offers two modes, so to say—“Single Match & Daily Games” and the Championship Mode. “In the qualifying stages, there were 63,000 teams created, the numbers hovering around 3,000 to 4,000 entries per game,” says Ramesh Srivats, managing director and chief executive officer of TenTenTen.
The Fandromeda portal also saw a spike when the World T20 main draw began on Tuesday, with nearly 12,000 entries for the India-New Zealand match. The Championship Mode has also found a lot of takers, especially with fantasy sport power users.
“Over 25,000 people are currently playing this and nearly 3,000 private leagues have been created,” added Srivats, who describes himself as a fantasy sport addict. “I have been playing fantasy sport (mainly cricket) for the last 10 years. I still have some Excel sheets and notes with complex data about my fantasy squads.”
“The IPL saw around 1.5 million users over the three years, while during the World Cup, we saw nearly half a million users play our game,” Srivats said. But the World T20 was ideal launch platform for the company.
“We want to first build our user base, and engage them with our product offerings. We are right now at over 30,000 and by the end of the tournament, our target is to reach 60,000-70,000 users,” he said.
“We have a paid offering, which we will be launching soon. We want to start off with a Rs.10 and depending on the market response, we could also introduce a Rs.100 pool. We will also have a limit of 5-6 teams per user.” The free games, he insists, will always be there. Fandromeda will also look to monetize through brand tie-ups.
Last year, during the second season of the Pro Kabaddi League, TenTenTen launched a fantasy league called ProPredictor for Hotstar, which Srivats says got 35,000 users.
Fantasy sports is on the rise globally, especially in United States (and North America in general). The online game, which came into existence in the US since the late 1980s, has seen an upsurge in adoption since the last decade, where it is now described as a “cultural phenomenon” which has “helped drive record TV ratings and revenues for the NFL.”
“Sports is slowly getting bigger in India. The biggest gain from the IPL is how these sports are now packaged. We want to be a part of that and not stop just at cricket. We could look at fantasy leagues for badminton, football and even hockey in the coming years.”
By his own estimate, the fantasy sport market in India could be a $1 billion market in the next five years, with a customer base of around 20 million. “The IPL fantasy league saw over 90% adoption rate from Indian users. Similarly, the World Cup saw over 75% Indian users playing our league.”
The legalities of fantasy sport in India is covered by a Supreme Court judgement from August last year, which ruled that online rummy was a “game of skill” and not gambling.